SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the critical parts of any blog. It takes too much time in learning and understanding the SEO step by step.
In WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin made it easy for every blogger to implement SEO tricks. It means, it will do 80% of your on-page SEO work, rest 20% is yours.
Yoast SEO has more than 1M+ active downloads per WordPress repository.
Only setting up a blog is not everything. Tell me, what is the benefit of writing a blog if no one reads it? Nothing?
Yoast SEO plugin is that piece of software that will tell search engines, “Look, here are some great content for your users”. Because Yoast ensures that you have written quality and search engines friendly content.
Google search engine loves quality content. I’m sure, you will not miss the opportunity to be loved by Google.
Yoast is user-friendly and very easy to handle. This is also one of the reasons people love the Yoast SEO plugin a lot. It provides almost everything which is required to make a blog fully SEO optimized.
- Optimize for keywords, keyphrases, synonyms, related keywords and all word forms of those.
- Google, Facebook, and Twitter previews
- Readability check – Flesch Reading Ease score
- Full control over your breadcrumbs
- No duplicate content
- Gutenberg-ready! (New post editor introduced by WordPress)
- Easy to create/handle robots.txt, .htaccess files
- Clean permalink URLs
- Sitemaps – You can also create a news sitemap with Yoast
- Internal linking suggestions
- Redirect manager (404 Not Found page)
- Focus keywords export in CSV file
These are a few most of the tasks Yoast handles itself. The plugin is updated every 2 weeks, so you’re sure that your website is optimized for the most recent Google algorithm.
Is It Paid Or Free?
Yoast is not completely free. It costs you $89.00 for 1 site. You will not get most of the functions of Yoast in free versions but it is still worth to use.
How To Setup Yoast SEO Plugin Correctly On Your WordPress Blog
Yoast is a complete piece of software for configuring SEO for any blog. It has many options to make your blog SEO enabled.
Follow the following steps to configure Yoast on your blog:
- Install Yoast from WordPress repository
- Activate it
- After installing and activating locate Yoast in the sidebar
The general tab shows you the following options.
Dashboard: In the dashboard tab, you will see a quick Yoast configuration wizard to validate your settings, notifications or any problems. Don’t use the open Yoast configuration wizard in the beginning, use it after doing all settings.
Features: Yoast SEO comes with a lot of features. These are basic settings of your Yoast plugin and are enabled by default. You can enable/disable some of them. Clicking the question mark gives more information about the feature.
I strongly suggest you don’t disable the first 3 options. If you do you will not be able to utilize Yoast properly.
Yoast XML Sitemap
Yoast also gives an inbuilt function to create an XML sitemap for your blog. Just enable the XML sitemap if not enabled. Submit the search engines like Google, Bing, etc.
Webmaster Tools: You just need to configure these options with the different webmasters and Yoast will keep you connected with different search engines. It will also help the search engine to recognize that your blog is active.
Yoast has four major search engine verification options.
- Baidu verification code (Popular in China)
- Bing verification code (Worldwide)
- Google verification code (Worldwide)
- Yandex verification code (Popular in Russia)
Search Appearance Tab
After finishing all options in the general tab locate the search appearance tab in the Yoast menu.
The search appearance tab gives you complete options to control your blog. You will decide what you want to show in search and what you don’t want to show.
General Settings In Search Appearance
The following options can be configured in general settings.
Title Separator: Choose the symbol to use as your title separator. This will display, for instance, between your post title and site name. Symbols are shown in the size they’ll appear in the search results. I advise you leave this as default.
Homepage: This is what shows in the search results when people find your homepage. This means this is probably what they see when they search for your brand name. At the homepage tab, you can set title and description for your blog that how search engines will show it in their search results.
The settings on this page allow you to specify what the default search appearance should be for any type of content you have. You can choose which content types appear in search results and what their default description should be.
Post & Pages: Keep this option ‘Yes‘ for search engines. Not showing Posts and Pages in the search results technically means those will have a
noindex robots meta and will be excluded from XML sitemaps
Show Post In Search – Keep it Yes.
Date in Snippet Preview – Keep it hidden, it will help you to keep your content fresh every time. If you have a news website then you can keep it show as news gets changed every time and every day.
Yoast SEO Meta Box – Keep it show always. It shows you meta title and meta description box below of each post. You can set the meta title and description manually for each post.
Also, keep the same settings for pages and media. If you want to change you can.
When you upload media (an image or video for example) to WordPress, it doesn’t just save the media, it creates an attachment URL for it. These attachment pages are quite empty: they contain the media item and maybe a title if you entered one. Because of that, if you never use these attachment URLs, it’s better to disable them, and redirect them to the media item itself.
Keep this always Yes.
Taxonomies In Yoast SEO
Categories and Tags: Categories and tags are not important by the search engine’s point of view. Categories and tags are only for users to navigate your blog. It also depends on your blog and the site’s nature. It totally up to you how you are running SEO for your blog. I will not recommend these get indexed.
I keep categories and tags no-index for my blog. If I keep them index it creates duplicate contents for me in search results and it can impact my SEO badly. So I keep them no-index.
Format: This is a format-based archive for your post. Keep this disabled if you are not aware that how to handle this. I too keep it disabled.
Category URLs: Category URLs in WordPress contain a prefix, usually,
/category/ this feature removes that prefix, for categories only. It is up to you whether you want to show category URLs or not. I keep it removed.
Keep author archives noindex follow. The author archive will be exactly the same as your homepage. It can create the problem of duplicate contents.
If you keep archives disabled then it will redirect your author page to the homepage.
Date Archive: Same as author archives keep date archives also noindex follow.
Special Pages: These pages will be
noindex, follow by default, so they will never show up in search results. Pages like ‘search pages‘, ‘404 pages‘ can impact your SEO if they get indexed in search engines. These pages are not adding any value to your blog.
Breadcrumbs In Yoast Local SEO
Breadcrumbs are good for user navigation and useful for search engines to understand the structure of your site. By default, it will be disabled in the Yoast SEO plugin. If you want to use breadcrumbs keep enabled this option and save changes. That’s it.
I suggest you leave this setting as it is. If your theme is not using breadcrumbs so you can enable it but still it is up to you whether you want to show breadcrumbs or not.
RSS In Yoast
This feature is used to automatically add content to your RSS, more specifically, it’s meant to add links back to your blog and your blog posts, so dumb scrapers will automatically add these links too, helping search engines identify you as the original source of the content. My suggestion is to leave it as it is. 🙂
Social Profiles In Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast gives you an opportunity to use social links to your blogs. Yoast lets search engines know which social profile is associated with your blog. It also has an option to set the Facebook, Pinterest Open Graph and Twitter Card for your blog.
Tools – Yoast SEO
Yoast has some useful tools in this section.
- Bulk Editor – In bulk editor, you can edit any posts and pages’ titles and descriptions without opening every post and page in an editor.
- File Editor– This is very useful, here you can directly edit a robots.txt file without logging in a control panel of your blog. You can also edit and update .htaccess file without struggling to find .htaccess file in cPanel of your blog.
- Import And Export – Use this option to import WordPress SEO settings from another blog.
You will get all these features free of cost. Of course, Yoast has its premium version as well. The Premium version provides some advanced tools integrated with it. The Premium version includes the following features.
- Redirect manager: Create and manage redirects from within your WordPress install.
- Synonyms & related keyphrases: Optimize a single post for synonyms and related key phrases.
- Social previews: Preview your page on Google, Bing, Facebook, and Twitter
- Internal Links: Get real-time suggestions for internal links
- Get an overview of your SEO scores and focus keywords
- 24/7 support
Check SEO Configuration In Yoast
You have configured Yoast for your blog. Now the time is to check SEO configuration as I told at the beginning of Yoast configuration not to use it right now.
Follow the following steps.
- Go to General Tab Again
- And click on Open the configuration wizard
- Click on configure Yoast SEO
- Option A: My site is live and ready to be indexed
- What does the site https://onedoze.com represent? I chose Blog
It is up to you what is your blog or site for.
- Does your site represent a person or company? I chose Person If you are a company you can choose a company as well.
- Fill your social profiles URLs
- Search engine visibility – Keep it Yes.
- Does, or will, your site have multiple authors? I set Yes if you don’t have; keep it No.
- Connect your blog with Google Search Console
- Give your site name and you can also change title separator
- Keep clicking on Next until you see Close button
Your blog is now fully configured for on-page SEO.
How Does Yoast SEO Plugin Work While Writing A Post
Yoast has some parameters to check an SEO friendly post. It turns lights RED to YELLOW and finally GREEN if you meet parameters of writing an SEO friendly post. Yoast also calculates the density of your keyword and also suggests you required things to use within posts like images, internal links, external links, etc.
It also checks the readability score. Google prefers the good readability of content.
Click on the gear icon on Yoast and set noindex-follow. By default, it will be index-follow.
You can also set different Facebook and Twitter titles, descriptions and images by using Yoast. Just click on the social sharing button and fill details.
Yoast SEO plugin is the best WordPress SEO plugin for everyone. You don’t need to be worried about the Free and Pro version. The free version also gives you a lot. If you are a beginner then only use Yoast, you will learn many things.